First Trust joins volunteers and fills food buses for the Salvation Army – ValpoLife

Al’s Supermarket on Franklin St. and Karwick Plaza in Michigan City hosted the annual “STUFF A BUS” event, where businesses and community organizations purchased $5 prepackaged bags for families in need on Saturday, September 24. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., First Trust Credit Union, The Salvation Army, Al’s Supermarkets, WIMS Radio, WEFM Radio, and Michigan City Area Schools worked together to promote the event to the community and load donated food items into a school bus at each location.


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While many pre-packaged bags were pre-sold this year, shoppers at Al’s supermarket were asked to purchase the remaining bags for $5, purchase a $5 meat voucher, shop around the store for additional items or to donate money to the Salvation Army. red kettles. The results yielded a whopping 1,081 bags of food donated (11,917 pounds of food/items donated), 483 meat vouchers (worth $5 each), and $843 in monetary donations.

First Trust Credit Union’s Director of Marketing, Dorene Martinson, has been on STUFF A BUS for 11 of the past 19 years and is happy to serve alongside others to meet the growing needs of the community.

“I know Maj. Becky Simmons of the Salvation Army said they feed about 400 families a month, but with the rising cost of groceries, they’re feeding over 500 families a month,” Martinson said. “It’s just the number of families, so you can imagine that the actual number of individuals to feed is even higher. There’s a huge need right now, and I’m excited to be a part of it because credit unions are built on people who help people.”

A few weeks before STUFF A BUS, First Trust Credit Union is holding a food drive at its Michigan City branch. Martinson shared that their neighbors, Life Care Center, have also joined them in collecting non-perishable items for the past few years. Once the food drives are done, they pack up all the groceries and bring them to Al’s supermarket on the day of the event.

“Part of the credit union’s ethos is to give back to the community, and STUFF A BUS is the biggest event we host for our Michigan City community,” Martinson said. “We have branches in Michigan City, Valpo. La Porte and Wheatfield, as well as all of our branches, have one or two specific charity partners in their communities that they work with each year. Being able to help organize this event is a perfect example of how First Trust Credit Union strives to live up to this philosophy.

After 15 years of volunteering for the event, WIMS Radio owner Ric Federighi has learned that Salvation Army pantry shelves are in short supply this time of year. With increasing needs in the region, providing a good meal to people in need is even more crucial today than in the past.

“We cook hearty meals,” Federighi said. “These are really good meals that people could not only use for food, but they can also make it last for a family of four or a family of six, because the need is so crazy these days. The need has really grown in our region.

At 3 p.m., Michigan City-area school buses carried all the donated items to the Salvation Army, where the Michigan City High School JROTC was ready to unload the buses and restock the shelves of the Salvation Army pantry.

“Thank you to the community and everyone who is here to make a difference,” Federighi said. “We are all doing it together to help these families in need. If we all stick together and help as a community, I think we will go a long way.

If you need help providing food for yourself or your family, please contact your local Salvation Army today.

Learn more about the financial products and services offered at First Trust Credit Union and how they serve their communities here.

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